Last spring, we reported Twitter’s introduction of a novel employee patent assignment plan called the “Innovator’s Patent Agreement” (“IPA”). In short, the IPA is a patent assignment agreement, or transfer of patent ownership from an inventor/employee to a company, where the inventor retains control over how the patent is used.
Twitter’s IPA now is in play.
Last week, U.S. Patent No. 8,448,084 (“the ‘084 patent”) issued to inventor Loren Brichter (“Brichter”) and is assigned to Twitter. Twitter then announced it would apply the IPA for the first time. This means that Twitter will not assert the ‘084 patent against others unless acting defensively, or if Brichter gives the company permission to use the ‘084 patent offensively.
Time will tell if the IPA, which apparently has been adopted by a number of other technology companies, will have any impact on patent infringement litigation.